#8 Leave and Follow: Luke 5:11, 27-28; 9:23-27; 9:57-62,
After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
In his masterpiece, “The Calling of St. Matthew”, Caravaggio imagines the tax collectors huddled in a darkened room counting their money. Jesus emerges from out of shot and, backed by a supernatural light, bids Levi “Follow me”.
Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Immediately. Without question or hesitation. He left everything and followed him.
I wonder if Levi had known the journey that lay ahead whether he would have been so bold? If, perhaps only for a moment, he might have taken pause.
It’s only later in the story that he learns the true cost of discipleship. Leaving vocation and family, a life on the road stripped of the comforts of home.
As Bonhoeffer put it: When Christ calls he bids us come and die.
Many of us experience a call like Levi’s. A supernatural moment when we are overcome by the presence of Jesus. And like Levi, it’s only later that we realised the cost.
Jesus finds us huddled in our darkened rooms, counting our money and our blessings.
It’s only after we journey along the road for a while that he puts the hard word on.
He calls us again, this time to death. The death of our greed and our selfishness.
He invites us to share the burden and the privilege of the cross.
As we walk our own road to Calvary this year let’s listen hard for where Jesus is calling us.
He might be calling us to a difficult place.
If we’re lucky, it might even be to death… and to life.